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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Encino Firm Drops Names to Score New Clients

Encino accounting firm Solomon Ross Grey & Co. has shortened its name to SRG LLP in a bid to place less emphasis on “name” partners and benefit its emerging partners. It is also part of a pattern of professional service firms moving away from identifying themselves with multiple names. International professional services firm Pricewaterhouse-Coopers, for instance, shortened its name to PwC. In the Valley, Encino law firm Lewitt, Hackman, Shapiro, Marshall & Harlan lopped off three names to become Lewitt Hackman. Along with adopting the SRG moniker, the firm embarked on a rebranding campaign with a new logo, a redesigned website, and a new blog, “Thinking Beyond the Books.” Woodland Hills marketing firm Newman Grace Inc. conceived and developed the rebranding campaign. “The branding concepts were developed by understanding what we do as a firm,” said Drew Grey, a partner at SRG. Shortening the name benefits the emerging partners when they are drumming up new clients, since they are not typically in accounting firms’ names. “It helps because you are selling a firm and not selling names,” he said. SRG was founded in 1963 and its eight partners are the third generation for the firm, which serves the entertainment, media, construction, real estate and insurance industries. Its business model is to serve as consultants, not just tax preparers and auditors. The backgrounds of the partners fit the strategy. Grey, for example, has served as a chief executive and chief financial officer. “Our business consulting is based on running businesses and not from the accountant’s perspective of what (the client) should do,” he said. The firm’s new logo features SRG in black lettering inside an oval inside a blue box. The “G” in the name is purposely outside the edge of the box to show that the firm engages in creative thinking, said Brian Hemsworth, president of Newman Grace. “An accounting firm (logo) does not have to look boring,” Hemsworth said. In the rebranding campaign, SRG had considered several marketing firms to work with and chose Newman Grace because it had worked with other professional service firms they respected, including Lewitt Hackman, Grey said. Bank Rings Bell Executives with California United Bank were at the NASDAQ Market Site in Times Square on Oct. 10 to ring the bell at the start of the trading day. California United Chairman and Chief Executive David Rainer pressed the button for the bell at 6:30 a.m. “It was a great experience for our bank, which is just over seven years in age and has done so well in such challenging times,” Rainer said. The Encino-based bank began trading on the NASDAQ Capital Market starting Oct. 9 after having traded on the Over the Counter Bulletin Board. The move gives the bank greater visibility to investors and improves its liquidity with shareholders, Rainer said. California United has eight branches in Los Angeles and Orange counties and a loan production office in Irvine. Microloan Program The Valley Economic Development Center received $25,000 from the Boston Beer Co., maker of Sam Adams beer, to provide microloans to small businesses in the food, beverage and hospitality industries. The Sherman Oaks nonprofit lender has distributed funds to two businesses: ice cream store Peddler’s Creamery in Pasadena and coffee shop Lord Windsor Roasters in Long Beach. It has enough money remaining to make one more loan. The $25,000 is part of $1.5 million Boston Beer is making available nationwide through its Brewing the American Dream program. “(Sam Adams founder) Jim Koch believes in microloans and they are going around the country to promote this program,” said Lisa Winkle, communications director for the VEDC. On Oct. 16, as part of the Boston Beer program, VEDC invited business owners to meet with Sam Adams employees to receive one-on-one mentoring and coaching at the Grace E. Simons Lodge in Elysian Park. The combination of providing the expertise and loans is what makes the Sam Adams program different from other business assistance programs, Koch said. “From being turned down by banks 28 years ago when I was just starting out and desperately needed funding, to figuring out how to distribute my product, I know firsthand what these small business owners are going through,” Koch said in a prepared statement. The VEDC has other microloan programs available to small businesses that provide financing from $1,000 to $50,000. In 2011, the VEDC made 160 microloans. Staff Reporter Mark R. Madler can be reached at (818) 316-3126 or by e-mail at [email protected].

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

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